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Message from the commissioner: 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics

October 12, 2018


Published by:

Disabilities Commission

Kristen McCosh, the Commissioner of the Mayor's Commission for Persons with Disabilities, provides a weekly update on the work happening in her office.

On September 27, I attended the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics Massachusetts at the JFK Library on behalf of Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston. This event was held to celebrate the achievements of the athletes, and to recognize the many friends, supporters, and corporate sponsors who have contributed to the Special Olympics over the past five decades.

It was also a powerful demonstration of what is possible when we empower and believe in each other.

The Special Olympics plays an important role in breaking down barriers for people with intellectual disabilities, and helps to empower participants with social, leadership, and communications skills.

At the celebration, many of the athletes shared their experiences about the impact that Special Olympics has had on their personal and professional lives. Melissa Reilly talked about her job at the State House where she works as an aide to State Senator Jamie Eldridge. She credits Special Olympics for giving her the confidence to be a public speaker and a working professional. Tyler Lagasse, an elite-level Special Olympics golfer, spoke of his childhood and growing up with autism, and how he learned to embrace his differences through Special Olympics. He spoke at the Special Olympics 40th anniversary celebration in 2008, where he talked about gaining confidence and skills.

My staff has recently established a connection with Boston’s Special Olympics office to explore ideas about establishing a local chapter in the City for Boston residents. We look forward to continuing this conversation as part of our commitment to making Boston not only accessible, but inclusive for residents of all abilities.